Walker assumes command of West Virginia Air National Guard

By Army Sgt. Zoe Morris, West Virginia National Guard | West Virginia Air National Guard | Feb. 6, 2019

CHARLESTON, W.Va. —

Brig. Gen. Christopher “Mookie” Walker assumed command of the West Virginia Air National Guard from Brig. Gen. Paige P. Hunter during a formal change of command ceremony held Feb. 2, 2019, at the 130th Airlift Wing, McLaughlin Air National Guard Base in Charleston.

 

The historic ceremony was presided over by Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, Adjutant General of the West Virginia National Guard.

 

“I can say that you – Airmen - you of the West Virginia Air National Guard are the tops,” said Walker while addressing the hundreds of Airmen, Soldiers and guests in attendance. “I can say that, because I’ve witnessed it. I’ve lived through it - through many deployments, and through many flyaway operations.”

 

Walker spoke about how when he joined the Guard after nine years on active duty, he mistakenly thought the Guard was second-string to the active component. He quickly learned how wrong his perspective was, he said, and has since spent more than 22 years holding a variety of position within the organization.

 

Walker challenged his commanders and supervisors in attendance to think of their Airmen first, and listen to understand, not listen to respond. He also encouraged everyone to find and address problems where they are.

 

“Problems are ok to talk about. Really,” he said. “Let’s look at red on the charts as opportunities to improve, try revolutionary ideas … be ready to listen to the good ideas coming from your troops.”

 

He also spoke of building bridges throughout the organization, both between the geographically-separated wings and the Army and Air components.

 

“We need to start knowing one another, recognizing one another, understanding and respecting one another, start acting like the family that we are,” he said. “We are the West Virginia National Guard.”

 

A master navigator with more than 5,200 hours in WC-130 and C-130E/H/H3 aircraft (including over 400 combat and combat support hours), Walker has served in a capacity as a traditional Guard member and as an Active Guard member.

 

He has served as a navigator and commander of the 167th Operations Support Squadron. From 2006 to 2008, he was the Air National Guard Crisis Action Team Director at the Air National Guard Readiness Center (ANGRC) at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. From 2008 until 2013, he served in the Connecticut Air National Guard as Chief Air Mobility Division at Bradley Air National Guard Base, Connecticut, and as deputy commander and commander of the 103rd Air and Space Operations Group.

 

Walker has also held the position of Chief, A3 Mobility Operations Division and National Guard Bureau Acting Deputy Director, Air, Space and Cyber Operations at ANGRC.

 

He has also served in various operations and contingencies as well as a special assistant to the Director of Mobility Forces at the 609th Combined Air Operations Center at Al Udied Air Base, Qatar, and as a civil aviation advisor to the Iraqi Ministry of Transportation with the Coalition Provisional Authority.

 

Hunter, an Airman who grew up visiting her father at the 130th AW, relinquished command following more than two years as the leader of the 2,150 Air National Guard members from the 167th Airlift Wing in Martinsburg and the 130th Airlift Wing in Charleston.

 

Hunter served the WVANG for 36 years, after commissioning as a second lieutenant in 1983 upon completion of the Academy of Military Science. She served as West Virginia National Guard Human Resource Officer, Joint Force Headquarters Director of Military Support to Civil Authorities, 130th Airlift Wing Mission Support Group Commander, 130th Airlift Wing Mission Support Flight Commander, 130th Airlift Wing Chief, Intelligence Division and began her career as a 130th Airlift Wing intelligence officer.

 

Walker made history when he assumed command as he become the first African-American Assistant Adjutant General - Air in the state’s history, following in the footsteps of another first, as Hunter was the first female to hold the position.